* Prices may differ from that shown
Soda Crystals are one of my favourite household products. I use them mainly for keeping my drains clear and removing tough stains from my clothes when doing the laundry. I get a 1kg packet of Dri Pak Soda Crystal from Tesco for a £1 normally and depending on what you are using the crystals for depends on how long the bag will last you.
I live in an old flat, with old plumbing so I like to be pro-active after we suffered some blocked pipes shortly after moving in. I put half a packet down my stainless steel sink and half a packet down the plug hole in the shower, with the plug and shower tray made of plastic, once every 3 months and this has kept any blockage from re-occurring over the past 3 years. Wash the soda crystals down with a kettle full of boiling water and you're down in a matter of minutes.
The soda crystals seem friendly to all surfaces that I have tried them on and certainly seem more safe to use than some other products I have used in the past to unblock drains. Some other products I have tried have left burn marks on a plastic shower tray for example.
Saying that, I do have quite sensitive skin and find that if I get the soda crystals on my wet hands, it's quite an uncomfortable feeling so I tend to wear gloves.
To remove tough stains from clothes or to bring up your whites nice and bright my wife and I add a tablespoon, as per the instructions, to our laundry detergent. This has always removed any hard to shift staines from football kits and made our whites nice and bright.
It's a great product and certainly one I would recommend for the kitchen cupboard. Excellent value for money.
I love to have a clean home and because I work part-time I am fortunate enough to be able to use products that may be a little more cost effective and less time effective. I am also interested in using products that are suitable for a variety of purposes, such as baking soda (which can be used for cleaning some items) as I like to use minimal space in my cupboards (leaves more for stocking up on bargains!) and I like to use one product for a variety of uses as it means I have to carry less products home from the supermarket too. In general it is fair to say that I will use household products perhaps designed for other purposes in my quest for cleanliness and soda crystals were an item that were recommended to me by my Mum about 4 years ago. I have been using them ever since and it is normally this particular brand that I purchase.
I buy my soda crystals from Sainsburys and I pay around 90p for a 1kg packet. They have been around this price for as long as I can remember and the brand is 'Dri-Pak'. The packaging is easy for me to recognise because it is green and it stands out quite a lot in the laundry aisle of my local Sainsburys. Also there is a drawing on the front of this packaging of some of the household items that you can use it for (sink, washing machine and oven). Also the back of the packaging shows you lots of usage guidelines and you may just pick up some tips on other items you can use this for cleaning too. The packaging is incredibly informative, possibly more than other cleaning product I have ever used and this is a huge plus point for me, particularly the very first time I purchased these soda crystals.
To open my soda crystals I just cut a corner off the packet and then leave this stop up in my cupboard. I've never had any problems with moisture getting in to the packet or any of these crystals leaking out other than when I tip the bag but you could always transfer them to a pot or other container if you wanted to.
Within the packet the actual soda crystals are very fine and white. I have always found that some of the soda crystals clump together when I've not used them for a week or two or when they have been sat in my cupboard for any period of time. This isn't a problem at all as I just tend to pour this wherever I am using them rather than accurately measure them out by grams or any other unit of measure. There is no scent to these soda crystals and really it is like having a bag of salt or white sand in your cupboard. There is no mess from using these, as long as I am careful when pouring directly from the bag, and they are easy enough to vacuum up should a spillage occur. On the one occasion I accidentally dropped a large amount I just swept them up and put them down the plughole anyway, no point wasting them!
The main two reasons I use these soda crystals are for putting in the drawer of my washing machine when running a cycle and for pouring directly down the plughole. To pour them down the plughole I pour a load down, then I run boiling hot water (usually boiled from my kettle just to avoid any cold water going down while the water is warming up) down afterwards. I've not often had problems with blockages in my sink but when I've had disgusting smells coming out I've found that one or two goes with soda crystals has cleared it no problem and any potential blockage that might have been causing the smell too.
I mainly use soda crystals for dealing with stains on clothing and I have found them to be very effective. The packaging advises to use 1 tablespoon of soda crystals but I tend to put 3 or 4 in as I just measure this out by eye and go with what I think is a reasonable amount depending on the amount of dirt or stains that I want to be removed. Now these soda crystals work an absolute treat on the collars of shirts & blouses and they've even helped remove curry sauce (home made of course!) stains that just wouldn't come out with my normal washing tablets alone. I add soda crystals to almost every wash because it works as an anti-limescale and has kept my washing machine in good condition (so far...!). I have also used soda crystals to soak with water as a pre-soak and this has worked well also.
In all it is fair to say that I have been very pleased with the quality of these soda crystals. They have a wide variety of uses, many more than I have already mentioned, and they work fantastically in my washing machine. Our smart work clothes are looking good, free of dirt and marks around the colour and there hasn't been a stain yet that these soda crystals haven't been able to lift. On one or two occasions I've had to re-wash items or give them a pre-soak beforehand just to ensure that stains are removed but in all these soda crystals are absolutely fantastic, low in price and firmly recommended from me.
I am a cleaning obsessed person and when I find a bargain product I am generally incredibly pleased! I like products which can be versatile and do a multitude of cleaning tasks which is probably why I like bleach so much. A few months ago I noticed that my utility plughole and my kitchen plughole didn't smell as fresh as they should and rather than go to the expense of having a plumber out I thought I would try and find a product available to buy to try to shift whatever was blocking the drain and rid the odour.
After a call to my mum I went out and bought a bag of soda crystals by the brand Dri-pak obviously the product name is Dri-pak Soda Crystals! Despite knowing about soda crystals and seen them to buy in stores I had never bought a bag before and I am rather surprised I had never thought about using them before. Soda crystals have been used for years around the home whether unclogging pipes to helping with the laundry. At 99p per bag (1kg) from Wilkinsons I thought they were definitely worth a go!
The soda crystals come in a green plastic bag which isn't see through so you cannot see what the product looks like. The packaging is colourful and easily spotted on the shelf (found in the cleaning products aisle). The images on the front of the bag clearly depict how you can use the soda crystals whether on your kitchen cooker, washing machine or down the plughole. On the back of the bag there is a full set of usage instructions should you have never used them before which I found particularly useful.
The bag is easy to open but I did find that the easiest way to store is in a sealed/ air tight plastic tub or similar as once the bag is open I find that the plastic can rip easily and the last thing I'd want to clear up are millions of tiny crystals! The soda crystals themselves are pure white in colour and look exactly the same as grains of salt although a little big. There is no scent to them whatsoever which for me is fine as they are only going to get flushed down with water in any event.
I first used the soda crystals in helping to break down a blockage in my utility room's sink. I simply poured the soda crystals down just as the instructions say and then rinse down with hot water. I also used the same method when trying to rid the odour from my kitchen sink which after one application the odour seemed to reduce quite a lot which was obviously nice for me! For the blockage in the utility room it did take two doses of the soda crystals and plenty of hot water for it to go down effectively and to stop the water from rising due to the blockage. And because it had two doses of the soda crystals the odour was eradicated.
Due to my unhappiness with Persil Bio Washing Powder in trying to rid my partner's football kits of horrid muddy stains I did give the soda crystals a go in trying to tackle the stains. Apparently back in the day soda crystals were one of the most popular laundry products around and were renowned for being able to cut through dirt and stains so I thought they were definitely worth a try. I followed the instructions and simply added 1 tablespoon of the soda crystals to my usual detergent (I put them in the drawer). You can use them to pre-soak clothes if the stains are really tough by making a strong solution in warm water and soaking for an hour. Soda crystals are also great for helping to tackle limescale as they soften the water which for me is ideal as I live in a hard water area so at least my washing machine is being looked after a little bit more.
I have washed my partner's clothes in both methods whether pre-treating or putting directly into the washing machine and I was amazed at the results. The horrible mud and grass stains were lifted and whilst the white shorts and socks didn't look as good as they did new they certainly looked a lot cleaner than they did and I was amazed at a product so cheap managed to do a really impressive job! The items all looked clean and I now use this along side my usual laundry products for my partner's clothes as well as his junior team kits.
Overall, I have absolutely no complaints about Dri-pak Soda Crystals as they really are a versatile product and I am so glad my mother recommended them to me (she has been using soda crystals for years). Every time I'm in Wilkinsons now I pop a bag in my basket as not only are they cheap I find that they are incredibly effective. Definitely a recommendation to all wanting a versatile cleaning product which won't break the bank. 5 stars from me!
~ Useful Information ~
Price: From 99p (currently 70p in Wilkinsons at the time of writing 06.10.12)
Availability: Supermarkets, discount stores and online
No, it isn't another constipation remedy; nor will they clear your sinuses. Well, they may do, but I wouldn't try it, if I were you.
I only recently discovered the benefit of using soda crystals. They have been around for years of course, but we just didn't see a need for them until recently when we had a stubborn blockage in the pipework below the bathroom sink.
This sounds pretty rank but I don't suppose we are the only ones to have blocked up our sink waste pipe with my wife's hair and shave slurry - oops - that's MY shave slurry. (I don't know what my wife does with hers).
We all like to think we keep our bathrooms clean; however over a period of weeks, a slimy mess can build up in the waste pipe, mostly somewhere below the sink plug but before you get to the U bend.
Sometimes the U bend itself is the problem and this can be easily removed, cleaned and replaced. However, other sections of pipe work are more difficult to get to. Enter Soda Crystals, produced and marketed to be used on a maintenance basis to keep sinks and drains clear.
The pack we buy is a 1kg standard size and this gives you sufficient crystals to keep you going for a good while. I think we usually get it in Home Bargains.
I simply sprinkle a handful of soda crystals into the plughole - add a small quantity of hot water and leave it to do its work before swilling away as normal. In our case, it worked a treat and we no longer had the problem with a slowly draining sink leaving a nasty scum on the sides.
Soda Crystals have a number of other uses; these are listed on the pack and include:
* Cleaning stains from clothes
* Acting as a water softener
* Soaking pans and grills to remove stubborn burnt on residue.
* Removing moss from patios
Fuller details and a free leaflet are available via dri-pak.co.uk, the manufacturers of DP Soda Crystals.
I have tough old hands; however this product is an irritant so you should wear rubber gloves if your hands are at all sensitive. Indeed, you shouldn't really need to handle it. The pack contains details of how to prepare a strong, regular or mild solution. Using a mild solution on a maintenance basis would probably have stopped the build up of detritus which caused our blockage.
Before use, I would advise that you carefully read the information on the pack. You should avoid using this on aluminium, varnished and lacquered surfaces.
For those with septic tanks, this product is safe to use. It is also biodegradable and contains no petrochemicals.
After using harsh chemical cleaning products for years I stumbled across soda crystals when my drains became blocked. The alternative commercial product I was going to buy was so expensive and being a hard up student, I thought I'd give the 90p soda crystals a try! I just follwed the instructions on the packet - pour it down the plug hole and sluice down some hot water, and it did the job no problem!
I still half a bag left that I just shoved at the back of the cupboard and forgot about, until I was moving out and clearing everything. Being a student house, we hadn't exactly kept the place spotless, and the kitchen was a typical student kitchen - greasy, dirty and pretty gross! So I went to the back of the packet again and it said if I made a solution with it, it would clean most surfaces in the kitchen. I gave it a go, and I was suprised what a great job it did of the surfaces and even the floor! I was pretty chuffed I'd found something that actually worked and that I could afford!
Without a doubt I think soda crystals are the most versatile cleaning products on the market. I always have at least one i packet in my cleaning cupboard at all times now. Looking on the internet there are so many uses for them, I've even used them to kill the moss off our driveway - you sprinkle them all over the moss, then wet them and within a few days the moss goes brown and you can just scrape it off dead easy.
In a way I feel like they're a bit of a secret that only I discovered, but I think I might be being a bit silly! I'd highly recommend soda crystals to anyone!
Soda Crystals could possibly be the best item you keep in your cleaning cupboard as they have an astonishing array of uses and are both environmentally friendly and cheap!
So having got your attention with the word cheap! I will endeavour to explain why you should get a pack of these at maximum £ 1.00 for a 1kg bag these are the most economical cleaning product around:
Soda crystals can be used to remove stains and they will shift really stubborn stains such as grease to use you add half a cup to your washing machine drum and then add half the normal amount of washing powder. I can confirm they really work I always add to my whites even if they do not seem to have any stains and I really have got whites!
. I recommend for really stubborn stains a pre-soak in the bath is worthwhile plus you have cleaned the bath at the same time!
Soda Crystals are a must in the kitchen from the sink to the floor and everything in between you can use them from burnt on food to cleaning your glasses then it's no job for the crystals.
I have already mentioned that you can use the crystals in the bath plus of course you can clean the tiles and work surfaces. You can also ensure that the waste pipe is clean by adding two cups and then sluice with hot water.
Yes not content with being an indoor wonder the crystals are prepared to tackle the outside you can
Prevent drain blockages
Clean the BBQ
Kill moss from the patio
I mentioned at the beginning that Soda Crystals were environmentally friendly and the reason for this is that they contain no phosphates, enzymes or bleach. So they are also a lot better for people with allergies.
I have told you a variety of uses for Soda Crystals but for more look on any of the green websites. I would defiantly recommend Soda Crystals as not only are they are cheap but they are also incredibly effective and as they have been in use for the last 150 years they have a proven track record.
SO having told you that they are maximum £1 a bag which lasts about a month and that they are environmentally friendly and really work and you can get them in most local shops and supermarkets what are you waiting for?
I have used Soda Crystals for many years and they are very good for some cleaning chores around the home and are very good value and are usually priced at around £1 for a 1 kg bag and have many uses that work in my opinion.
They come in a plastic bag and they are very fine crystals, more like a washing powder and they are tiny grains and white in colour, they do not have a lot of fragrance but what fragrance there is, it is a nice pleasant one and I use it sometimes in a washing load to remove stains such as tea, blood, ink or coffee, when they are a little stubborn to remove with any washing powder and I pre soak some garments in a solution of this and then I wash them in the usual way and the stains are removed perfectly in my opinion.
I also use it to soak saucepans if I have burned something and I use hot water and leave them for a couple of hours or overnight and then the stuck on food etc is easily rinsed away.
For my worktops I sometimes use a warmer water solution to remove grease etc if I am doing a spring clean and I use it on the tiles too and anywhere I would normally want to clean in the kitchen or bathroom.
I have also used it on the BBQ as it brings it nice and clean for the next time I need to use it as it can be very greasy and hard work cleaning it and these crystals cut into the grease and bring it nice and clean again.
Towards the end of the summer season I clean my patio furniture in a warm solution and then they are nice and clean for the next summer time.
For laundry cleaning reduce the amount of washing detergent powder and add 25 - 50 g of the crystals directly into the compartment drawer and but always check the colour fastness before washing and follow the instructions on the labels.
It is recommended not to use the crystals directly onto aluminium and always use a solution and also avoid varnished and lacquered surfaces too.
It is very good for blocked drains and I usually add half the packet to the drain and sluice it down with hot water and it usually does the trick.
I use it a couple of times a year and I highly recommend it for anyone to give it a try as I think it is a very good quality product to have handy in the cupboards.
I give it 5 stars.
Thank you for reading my review.
I first heard about soda crystals when my sister recommended them to me after my washing machine stopped taking the fabric conditioner. There was nothing else wrong with my washing machine and it didn't seem serious enough to buy a new washing machine so I thought I would give them a try. Soda crystals soften the water so it means your clothes come out softer without the need for fabric conditioner.
Soda crystals are made by Dri pak and come in a green packet weighing 1kg. These have been around for years and before the introduction of modern cleaning products these were a staple cleaning agent in many households. I found a packet in Wilkinsons for 74p. I have been using soda crystals in my laundry for some months now and I have been pleased with the results.
There are several advantages of using soda crystals in your laundry. For starters they have stain removing qualities and when you use them in your white wash you notice your whites appear whiter after washing. You also find that you will not need to use as much washing powder as before as soda crystals help boost the cleaning power of your washing powder and as everyone knows it does not mean that the more washing powder you use the better cleaning you will get. Soda crystals also help to prevent the build up of limescale in your pipes so you preserve the life of your washing machine and also by keeping the pipes clearer you use less energy therefore bringing down your electricity bill.
I have found that to get softer clothes I do need to put about 3 teaspoons of this in with my powder. It is great stuff as it seems to last a long time and as I've said earlier I have been using this for some time now and am still on the first packet. Soda crystals do not have any distinctive smell so you don't notice them on your clothes
I also discovered that there are other uses for soda crystals. You can make a cleaning solution by using two teaspoons of this and adding hot water. You can then clean your kitchen with it and it does appear to be quite good at cleaning. I also clean out drains by pouring a few teaspoons of this down the drain and following it with boiling water. This keeps my sinks smelling fresher.
I have used this to clean tea/coffee stains from mugs. I put half a teaspoon of this in each mug and then pour boiling water into them. After the water has cooled I clean each mug out with washing up liquid and they come out like new. I bit of elbow grease is needed but it does shift those tea/coffee stains!
I don't use soda crystals for much else but there are plenty of other uses for them. If you fancy making up your own washing powder you need to include these together with some soap flakes and borax.
Overall these are great to use for cleaning and I highly recommend them.
Recently I'd been hearing 'glug glug' noises for a while after using the bathroom sink, and so I decided to give it a good clean. For some reason I decided to scrape a cotton bud down the side of the drain, and was disgusted at all the gunk that I got out. My house was rented out to students last year and doesn't have the best drain system in the world anyway, so I'm not too surprised it was in that state! After I'd scraped for a bit, I noticed a distinct eggy smell and decided something else had to be done!
My first stop was (of course) dooyoo to check out the best drain cleaning solution. Though the ones I found such as Domestos and Buster had great reviews, I noticed a few comments on the sides of some of them saying 'I just use soda crystals and water!'. I thought it would be hassle trying to find them though, and went off to Asda to get a good, strong (expensive) drain cleaner.
Surprisingly, Asda had very little in the way of drain cleaners, although the couple I found were nearer £3 than the £5 suggested on dooyoo. Funnily enough, the packets of soda crystals caught my eye, and at only 70p for a kilo, seemed a much better deal than a one-use £3 bottle.
I was also impressed by the number of uses soda crystals have, not knowing anything about them. According to the packet you can use them with your washing to soften clothes, clean surfaces, clean dirty pans and similar. I figured that the crystals were a much more natural solution than the other cleaners I looked at if they can be used on clothes and cooking tools. There's no mention on the packaging of wearing gloves or being careful (unless you have sensitive skin) unlike the strong chemical cleaners.
The biggest advantage in my opinion was that the instructions for drain cleaning say to pour half a packet into the drain and sluice down with hot water. All of the other cleaners I came across required leaving the solution for anything from 15 minutes to overnight - a big hassle in my house with only one bathroom and three people generally operating in different time zones!
So I boiled the kettle, left it for a few minutes once boiled, and then poured the soda crystals down the drain. I only used about a third of the packet, especially as they seemed to sit in the sink for a while even after pouring half a litre of hot water down after them (I should probably have used more water). There were some little lumps, but they quickly dissolved.
A few minutes later, I rinsed the sink out and peered down the drain. Already the drain looked cleaner and I could see no remains of the bits of toothpaste and mouthwash (eww). I did the cotton bud test again - and though it didn't come out cleaner, it was far, far cleaner than before. I think they did an excellent job, and if I'd used half a packet, I bet the results would have been even better. The smell's gone, and so has the gurgle, which makes me feel reassured that the drain is now clear.
Okay, my drain wasn't thoroughly blocked in the first place, but it's peace of mind and avoiding potential plumbing costs. The packet advises to use once every two weeks or so, but at 35p a fortnight, it's far more affordable than the alternatives.
The only negative is that the packet has to be cut open and has no reseal option. But a clip or sandwich bag over the top soon sorts this out if you're bothered.
Overall, an excellent product and I'm going to stock up on packets in case I can't find them again.
I first started using soda crystals 4 years ago because my neighbour who is 87 swears by them, apparently his washing machine broke down one day about 10 years ago and the washing machine engineer told him to use two spoonfulls in every wash as it takes away limescale. His machine hasn't broke since. I started using them in all my washes as well and it is a lot cheaper than the limescale tablets that you buy.
It costs under a £1 and lasts at least a couple of months and i do lots of washes.
In addition to taking away the limescale, it also means you need to use less washing powder as it also cleans, and your whites come out very nice. Having said that, i also use it with my coloured washes and it hasn't faded the colours.
I would recommend it to everyone including my mother.
Around a week ago I noticed a rather unpleasant cabbage smell eminating from my washing machine every time I opened or closed the door - it got steadily more pungent until a couple of days ago when I took my "clean" washing out and noticed the cabbage smell was now transfering itself onto the clothes. I quickly pegged them out and was thankful it was a good dry day but knew this problem needed resolving.
After spending a while googling various ideas it became apparent there was an underlying theme - soda crystals.
I purchased these from tesco costing £0.64 for 1kg - it was the bag I bought for this job not the spray.
It comes exactly as shown above and claims to unblock grease from sinks and drains, shift heavy stains in washing and soften hard water and cut through the grease on cookers, pans and surfaces. For the purposes of this review I was trying it out to stop the foul aroma coming from my washing machine.
What did I do
I opened the packet with scissors and poured a large cupfull into the detergant drawer of my washing machine ( I had cleaned this area thoroughly before hand). It is a soft white powdery consistency with no aroma to it, then I set my washing machine to 90 degrees as recomended on the various sites I googled, I set it off with nothing else in it and waited for the cycle to finish.
Did it work
once finished I opened the door and was a little disappointed to still detect a slight cabbage smell, however I decided to pop in a wash load and wash as normal to see if it had worked at all. Upon opening the door after a normal 30 degree wash I was immediately greeted with a nice fresh smell, I could easily detect my detergant and softener smell and there was not even a hint of the cabbage aroma. I have done 4 loads of washing since then and the cabbage has definately been eliminated!
After speaking to my mum she advised it is a good idea to do this once a month - called a maintaince wash - to give your machine a thorough internal clean - apparently consistently low temperatures and the use of gels / liquid mean detergant can build up in unseen areas and this is the cause of the smell.
In my eternal quest to try and save money, and allow me to spend more on the finer things in life (nice holidays etc), I've reading up a lot on different ways to shop and save. My latest discovery is Soda Crystals and for this I need to thank Kim and Aggie and my other half being late home, causing me to watch their programme on BBCAmerica (Their show is on 4 times a day in America, can you believe it?).
My shopping bill seems to get bigger and bigger and I often find new products I want to try out, or 'need' as they claim to 'better than the rest'. My biggest expense always seem to come from cleaning products, be it limescale removers, washing powder, fabric softener, bleaches and creams, window cleaners, sink and drain cleaners...you get the idea. Then whilst watching the domestic goddesses (Kim and Aggie) they started using this strange looking, salt like stuff, called Soda Crystals (sometimes known as 'washing soda'). I had heard of them before but didn't really know what they did.
It turns out they have been around for over 200 years as a recognised cleaning product. Not only are they a traditional cleaning product, but they are highly versatile, cheap and most importantly, environmentally friendly. They are biodegradable and don't contain any phosphates, enzymes or bleach. Two of the key things they do is clean (due to their mild abrasive quality) and soften water. They are produced and sold by the company 'Dri-Pak' that also manufacture other 'natural' cleaning products, such as borax, soap flakes, white vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda.
In greater description, they are white granules, that looks rather like washing powder or ground salt. If you want to buy a 1kg bag of Soda Crystals, Tesco sell it for a mere 50p. Thanks to the bigger supermarkets they are available pretty much everywhere.
So how does it help me?
Well, I don't really know where to start. The helpfulness of these clever granules seems to be endless. Firstly the laundry...I don't know about you, but I think the prices of detergents is pretty ridiculous. You can pay up to £4 for a box of 40 tablets, that only last just over a month or so. Then there's the fabric softener, if it isn't already included, which can be at least another £3 or so. So, the washing can cost in the region of £7 a month. But I started substituting some of the powder with Soda Crystals and it makes my laundry tablets last twice as long. Ok, ok, ok, I could do better, for the purists you can use ¼ soda crystals, ¼ borax and ½ parts soap flakes and use a splash of White Vinegar for softener (although I'm not entirely convinced of the White Vinegar working as well as I would like) and you have created a laundry product that will only cost around £2 for the lot and probably last a lot longer. Bargain!
But it doesn't stop there, you can mix the crystals with water to make a solution that will also clean as effectively as any commercial and over priced cleaning product. In my bathroom, I have one of those heated towel/radiators, but over the summer, the humidity of the shower and lack of heating and windows made little spots of rust settle in the corners of the metallic towel rack (urgh). A mixture of Soda Crystals and water, and a mild scrubbing action from my good self shifted the spots fine. Around the bathroom and kitchen, the stuff is bloody phenomenal. It helps shifts limescale, helps clean burnt on food (when soaked in it), will remove grease and clean floors. The solution can also help shift moss on patios and clean up barbeques (I've never actually tried this, but their website informs me so). I've also used it to clean and refresh drains...for this, all you have to do is chug a load of it down your sink, then 'sluice' (nice word) it down with warm water. This has worked a treat for my numerous times, it also works for outdoor drains.
The only 'do nots' with it, is don't clean anything aluminium based, as the aluminium won't thank you for it. This also goes for varnished or laquered surfaces. Also, it's best to use rubber gloves if handling it as a solution...I once didn't and it dried up my hands and made them crack and go bleedy and sore (sorry for that appauling grammar, I've just finished a 9 hour work day, with ½ hour for lunch, all my choice, but hey)...not nice. Although it will soften water for cleaning, you can't use it to soften drinking water, that would be silly! It needs to be stored in a cool dry place too. So don't keep it in your saunas! Oh, and I should mention...don't confuse it with sugar or salt and eat it...you will die (but at least your insides will be clean).
If you need a helping hand going green, I would whole heartedly recommend to try using these granules of wonderment. Once my washing powder tablets have run out, I'm going to start using the Soda Crystals with borax and soap flakes...I'm also going to try using them with soapnuts (but that's a whole other review). Hopefully in a few months time, I'll be helping the environment more by not using bleach and commercial nonsense...and also saving a few bob at the same time, to add into my 'fun fund'.
If you want to find out more about them and their uses, check out their website: www.soda-crystals.co.uk
Thanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2009
I always make sure I have Soda Crystals, manufactured by Dri Pak Ltd of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in my kitchen and bathroom cupboards. For a product that costs around 69p for 1kg this represents excellent value for money and the uses are endless.
A spoonful added to the drum of a washing machine enables you to use less soap powder yet still ensures great results and will even take out grease and stains like coffee and blood. It also helps to keep the machine clean and in good running order; you can even hand wash clothes with Soda Crystals (test an inconspicuous area first but I have never had a problem with any fabric).
Soda Crystals can be used to clean pots and pans and, left soaking for around 20 minutes in a solution of crystals and hot water, even the greasiest oven shelf or barbecue rack will come up clean.
The crystals are also a cheap but effective way of keeping drains and plugholes free of grease and fresh-smelling - just pour a couple of cups down and rinse with hot water.
Use the crystals in a hot solution for cleaning paths and patios outside; it even keeps the moss at bay.
In the bathroom, a mild solution will clean sinks and baths and, as with the kitchen, will keep drains and plugholes clean.
The instructions warn that the crystals cannot be used on aluminium.
As this is an organic product it is perfectly safe for use in homes with septic tanks.
All in all, excellent results for very little financial outlay.
I have been using soda crystals for about two to three years now, after a recommendation from my Nana to use them in the washing machine, to help reduce limescale. They can be used in the drawer of the machine - about half a cup - to help to reduce the amount of washing detergent used, as well as keeping the drum free from limescale buildup. As I live in a hardwater and am trying to save money, this has been a really good thing to do. The soda crystals are made by Dri-Pak in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and cost 44p for a 1kg bag in Tesco's. This price has recently come down a little from about 51p, making them even more of a bargain, as they have so many uses around the home, apart from doing the washing.
Soda crystals can be used for unblocking sinks and drains, for cleaning burnt-on food from pans and dishes, work surfaces and floor tiles. They can also be used for gardens and patios, to remove moss and to degrease barbecues. They are a very traditional cleaning product, and are environmentally friendly, as they are biodegradable. It is important to keep them out of the reach of children, as they are an irritant, and it is a good idea to wear gloves when in contact with the crystals, especially if you have sensitive skin, as I do.The packaging currently being used is green and white, so it looks a little different to the blue and white packaging shown in the picture above. To summarise, soda crystals are a great product, at a fantastic price, and they have a wide variety of uses.
~~~Why I am even interested~~~~
To quote Koshka on a comment she placed on one of my reviews.....I am such a domestic goddess........ok...Maybe Domestic Diva is more apt! LOL. Goddesses wear little black dresses, high heeled shoes, and have great nails and just so hair and make up. Us divas, get to wear jeans and be more casual! That's my story and I am sticking to it! Anyhoo, as a domestic diva, I am always managing some household task or another. I like to have things fairly tidy, definitely clean, and I absolutely refuse to spend a fortune! I grew up with a very 70's military Stepford mom.
Base housing had to meet certain standards of cleanliness, and they even came and measured the distance of the grass from the kerb to ensure it was edged within regulation, and the grass cut to a regulation height Houses upon moving were subject to full white glove inspections, and if you called for a service, or had Housing make one for you (such as the every 6 month cockroach spray man), then you better have it in military order, because if you did not, a Housing officer came to chat with you about it. This suited my Mom just fine. It was the 70s; she was a housewife, and a Virgo to boot. You could come in and eat off her floor any time! These habits were ingrained into me from an early age, and being on a budget, a good bit of her know how was passed on to me.
There are many new cleaners out on the market. Most do things we don't actually need them to do, and are advertised in such ways to make us think we do. The truth is, you only need a very small handful of things to keep a clean and sanitary home. The old standbys of washing up liquid, vinegar, ordinary soap, and washing soda can all clean effectively and kill germs too. Many people know the value of washing up liquid for washing dishes, and even washing windows. You might even know about the properties of vinegar, and baking soda. Soap is fairly obvious to many, but I am astounded at the sheer numbers who have no CLUE about washing soda!
~~Ok, so what is it then?~~~~
Washing soda is a form of sodium. To be exact, it is sodium carbonate, chemical name Na2CO3. It is closely related to baking soda, which is edible, however this is a caustic powder and should be kept away from children and pets and rubber cleaning gloves should be worn when using it neat. Like baking soda, it is highly alkaline, and so can be used to soften water, neutralise acids, and is great at dissolving greases and oils for easy clean up. These properties give it a wide range of applications that you would otherwise have to have specialist products for.
Live in a hard water area? Add 1-2 tablespoons of washing soda to a normal water sized helping of detergent (actually half of that), and its softening capabilities will render the detergent much more effective. Need to save cash? This is the base for most early and even modern laundry detergents. You can make your own like this:
1 cup plain soap (such as Simple), grated or shredded (I use a food processor)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax (order this from the chemist, also very cheap)
Or better yet make your own laundry gel. It only takes, literally, 10 minutes to make a 3 month supply. This goes in the drum, not the drawer
1 bar unscented white soap; such as Simple
1/2 cup washing soda crystals -
4 litres hot water
Heat hot water, and when starting to boil, remove pan from water and stir in grated soap. Heat on low until all is melted, and then remove from heat. Stir in washing soda, allow to cool slightly, and pour into a large Tupperware type lidded container. Once it has completely cooled, it will turn into a gel. You use half a teacup, or about half a laundry scoop per load, added to the drum. You can add lavender essential oil before it sets if desired (about 20 drops). This is suitable to replace non bio detergents and is popular amongst mothers of infants, especially for washing baby bedding, clothes, and nappies.
You can also place a cupful in a bucket with hot water, and soak mildewed shower curtains, pram seat covers, grass stained jeans, etc in and it will shift them without going to great expense. Just soak for thirty minutes or up to 1 hour, and then wash as usual. Set mildew stains may need scrubbing with a soft vegetable type brush as well before washing. Its also a great way to brighten whites without bleaches. Best of all, it will not damage clothes like a bleach can. Just don't use on wool or silk, as these need specialist cleaners! You also need to be certain the item is colourfast of course!
You can simplify this by making a simply laundry pre-treatment:
Make a paste with 1/4 warm water and 4 tablespoons washing soda. Dampen stain and apply paste. Wash as usual with usual detergent. If commercial detergent, add half a cup washing soda to the load to aid in effectiveness. This works best on fresh stains, needless to say.
~~~What else can I use this for?~~~
Got a blocked kitchen sink? Leave to its work, or if you feel brave, pour in a small amount, pour hot water from a kettle standing well back, and watch it go. Even more effective than baking soda, and gives Mr Muscle a run for his money.
Dirty pan racks? Soak in the bath with a cup of these in hot water, leave overnight. Then merely wipe down with a sponge. You can also use it on steel pans, but NOT aluminium. It will also clean the oven easily. Simply take a spray bottle of water, spritz the interior, and sprinkle on.....or make a paste and spread it thinly. Leave on overnight, then get up and wipe away.
Made into a paste with some warm water, it effectively cleans counters, PVC window frames barbecues, plastic furniture etc without scratching, kitchen exhaust units, and rinses cleanly away, unblocking the drains as you go. Much cheaper than CIF, I can tell you!
As long as your bath is not fibreglass, but is plastic or enamel, you can also use it here. Clean, sanitise, polish, and deodorise all with a single product! Simply apply with a damp sponge and wipe, then rinse clean. You can even clean your toilet bowl with it, simply sprinkle in and brush. Just remember to disinfect your brush afterwards to kill any germs the brush picks up! If using on bathroom surfaces or kitchen worktops, I do urge you mix to a paste and mix with a few drops of tea tree oil to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Tea tree oil is even proven against MRSA, so is perfect for surfaces where absolute sanitation is desired.
Rubbish bins, nappy bins, and refrigerators washed with 1/2 cup of washing soda and a bucket of warm water will come up clean as well as deodorised.
~~~Okay, where do I buy this and how much is this wonder product?~~~
This household staple is available in a blue and white plastic bag and has the trade mark DRI PACK WASHING SODA for the name brand emblazoned upon it. It is only in 1 kg sized bags, and you find it on the laundry aisle at supermarkets and Wilkinson's. It will set you back..wait for it....a whole 50 pence or so. You can also buy it premixed with water, but pass on this. better value to get your own powder and mix with water!
So, for 50 pence, and some water, and a bar of plain soap, you can make 3 months of effective and gentle laundry gel; clean your kitchen, bathroom, and more. So what are you waiting for? Don't get ripped off any more on that cleaning aisle. It is simple to use with a lack of faff, effective, and cheap. It's every consumer's dream, so go BUY IT.
Soda Crystals or Washing Soda; have been used for generations as a way to clean; loosen dirt; dissolve grease and soften water. They are free of bleach; enzymes and phosphates.